Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Insulin-like Growth Factor

One of a group of peptides secreted by the liver and that circulate in the blood. Formerly called somatomedins, they have growth-promoting, insulin-like, and mitogenic effects. The igf genes (igf1, igf2) control the production of IGF-I, IGF-II, etc. IGF-I (formerly somatomedin C) is an important growth hormone-dependent mediator of cell growth and replication in young adults, and has been implicated in hGH-resistant dwarfism. IGF-II (formerly somatomedin A) is a determinant of the size of the placenta, appears to be essential for normal embryonic development, and may play special roles in the central nervous system; it exhibits evidence of genomic imprinting. Both are similar in sequence and structure to both mammalian proinsulin and human relaxin.

See genetic conflict theory and dual effector model.

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